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Healthcare providers can challenge Calif. Medicaid cuts, Supreme Court rules


ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Supreme Court has sent a lawsuit challenging cuts to California's Medicaid program back to a lower court.

The high court ruled 5-4 in the case of Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California that healthcare providers could challenge Medicaid reimbursement cuts under the U.S. Constitution's supremacy clause. The decision returns the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had originally ruled that the providers had standing to sue.

The case was filed in 2008 in California's Federal District Court, arguing that a 10% reimbursement cut in the Medi-Cal program violated the federal patient access law.

A group of pharmacy organizations, including the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Pharmacists Association and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, praised the ruling.

"Ensuring patient access to pharmacy care should not be compromised in an attempt to remedy budget challenges," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. "Community pharmacy provides unsurpassed value in improving health and reducing costs across the board."

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